Use clothespins to signal other nurses

At the busy emergency department at Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, IL, a rack system and clothespins help nurses to communicate, says Cindy Wage, RN, BSN, nurse educator. A box of clothespins is kept at the nurse’s station, and the clothespins are attached to a patient’s charts to let nurses know that an order was written for a patient. "It’s a signal to anyone who’s got a minute, that something needs to be done for a patient," Wage says.

In doing this, the physician or unit clerk doesn’t have to try to find the nurse and tell them directly, she explains. "It’s a nonverbal way of communicating," says Wage.

[Editor’s note: For more information, contact Cindy Wage, RN, BSN, Trinity Medical Center, West Campus, 2701 17th St., Rock Island, IL 61201. Phone: (309) 779-3232. Fax: (309) 779-3232. E-mail:]